Weathertightness remediation design

Fixing leaky buildings is a specialist area. Only building surveyors, architects/designers and builders with experience in this area should be involved. An unsatisfactory repair job can lead to the need for further repairs down the track.

There are many possible approaches, and homeowners should seek expert advice on the most appropriate one(s) for their circumstances. Once you know for sure that your home is leaking, options include:

  • A full recladding. All existing wall cladding is removed, the framing is exposed and assessed, damaged framing is replaced, remaining framing can be treated in situ and new cladding is installed.
  • Partial recladding. This may be an option where the failure is not widespread and can be isolated to a single face, cladding type or portion of a clearly defined wall area.
  • Localised repair. Where a single cause or point of water entry is identified, repairing that one specific cause may be a valid option. Localised replacement will not be a valid option if the damage is widespread.
  • Demolition is a possible option where there is significant damage to cladding, internal and external structure (walls and floor), flooring and internal linings. It may be easier to start from scratch than try and repair the building. However, in most situations, recladding is usually cheaper than demolishing and rebuilding.
  • Temporary repairs. Homeowners may not have the will or financial means to consider full remediation project, especially where no legal remedy to recover repair costs is possible. Carrying out partial repairs just to limit further damage is not a recommended remediation option and comes with significant risks.

Weathertightness remediation also offers the owner an opportunity to consider other changes to the building – to increase its amenity and resale value, remedy other defects and improve sustainability.

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has a number of publications on weathertightness remediation available on its website, including:

For more information, go MBIE’s Building Performance website.

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